“Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26)
The lame man at the beautiful gate begged for alms; that was all he wanted. He did not know he could get something greater than alms. Like this lame man, we often get on our knees praying to God for silver and gold; for things we can see not knowing there could be more. How often do we ask for a deeper faith, holiness, repentance, deeper relationship with God?
Peter did not have money but he had faith. He said: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” thereby granting instant healing to the lame man. Financially, Peter was poor but spiritually, he was very rich. This story teaches us to value spiritual wealth over financial riches. You may not have any money but as long as you have God, you have everything.
In today’s Gospel passage, two disciples were walking away from Jerusalem in disappointment. Perhaps, they were expecting Jesus to take over political power from the Romans not knowing Jesus came for something more than that. Like the lame man, all they wanted was political appointments so even when they heard that Jesus had risen from the dead, they still felt disappointed.
Jesus met them on their way to Emmaus. As it was with Mary Magdalene, these disciples did not immediately recognize Jesus. Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus explained to them why it was necessary for the Messiah to have suffered and died on the cross. As Jesus taught them, their hearts burned within them.
Come to think of it: What if it was necessary for the man in today’s first reading to have been paralysed? Who knows, if Peter had some money with him, he would not have attempted to heal the lame man. Of course, if Jesus had rejected the cross, there would have been no salvation for us.
You see, the fact that you do not have as much money as you would have desired might be a blessing in disguise. The fact that you may be experiencing one form of suffering or the other may just be the stepping stone God has placed on your path to launch you to greater heights.
Do not be like these two disciples. Do not become disappointed with God because He failed to meet your expectations. Do not get angry with God because He hasn’t answered your prayers. Remember this, your greatest wealth is your faith. That was what Peter knew he had and he was not ashamed of his financial poverty.
I saw a recent quote by Archbishop Akubeze stating: “Jesus did not die to end all suffering; He did to teach us how to suffer.” If Jesus’ death on the cross was to end all suffering, then his disciples would have become multi-millionaires immediately, perhaps, they would not have experienced any persecution.
Jesus did not come into this world to make us materially rich or politically powerful possessing earthly kingdoms, etc. No. Jesus came to give us something far more important: His Body and Blood – His physical presence in the Holy Eucharist. After speaking to the two disciples, it was during the Holy Eucharist that Jesus revealed Himself to them. The meaning of this is: WITH MY BODY AND BLOOD OFFERED FOR YOU, YOU SHOULD NOT BE DISAPPOINTED IN ME.
Jesus is still with us today and He is all we need. You know that song: “You take the whole world, and give me Jesus. You take the whole world and give me Jesus, you take the whole world and give me Jesus. I’m satisfied, I’m satisfied.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to value my faith and deepen my devotion to your real presence in the Holy Eucharist. Amen.
Acts 3:1-10, Psalm 105 and Luke 24:13-35).